Last year I was invited to a Hanukkah dinner for the first time, and I immediately fell in love with the potato latkes that kept coming from the kitchen for hours. Being a Latina, I'm no stranger to fried foods, and potatoes are a staple ingredient in most of my country's dishes.
This year I decided I was going to make latkes myself, and, as with every other dish I cook, my goal was to make them as healthy as possible. I was very pleased when, researching Hanukkah foods, I discovered that cabbage slaw is one of the traditional side dishes served with fried foods such as latkes.
On a recent trip to Nicaragua, I realized that the key to enjoying their heavily fried foods freely, is to always accompany them with their staple cabbage slaw. This salad is found everywhere, and served with absolutely everything, and even though there are a few slightly different variations, the common denominator is always its simplicity and freshness.
My latkes are made with yucca, and also are gluten-free by replacing the regular flour or Matzo meal with buckwheat flour (which is not actually wheat at all), and are light and nutritious thanks to the huge portion of cabbage slaw served on the side.
RECIPE: Gluten-Free Yucca Latkes with Cabbage Slaw
Yield 8-12 latkes
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
1 head of cabbage
2 medium-sized grated carrots (or 1 large carrot)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups coarsely grated yucca
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
½ a large white onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
Start by making the salad. Cut the cabbage in thick wedges, and grate it very finely using a mandolin. Transfer to a large bowl.
Grate the carrots and add them to the cabbage, and mix this salad with the oregano, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
Peel and grate the yucca, and then put it in a cheesecloth, and press to remove as much liquid as possible. After pressing well you should be left with about 2 cups yucca.
Mix the flour, salt, pepper, onion, and eggs in a bowl. Add to the yucca and mix well.
In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, pour ½-inch of oil. When the oil is very hot (it should sizzle as soon as the dough touches it), form the latkes with ¼ cup yucca dough flattened between your hands. Place them side by side in the pan, and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You will have to do this in several batches.
Cover a large serving plate with paper towels, and put the fried latkes on top, to absorb the excess oil. Cover them with more paper towel and press slightly. You can keep them in a warm oven while you make the rest, so they don't get cold before serving them.
Serve the latkes with cabbage slaw on the side. You can also serve them with applesauce and plain yogurt.